SACRAMENTO, March 30, 2003 — On March 31, 2003, hundreds of young persons in schools and after-school programs throughout the state of California are participating in varied activities to honor the life and values of Cesar Chavez, a civil rights activist and a labor organizer of Mexican-American ancestry who had fought for the equity and recognition of farm workers in the United States. California’s historic legislation established Cesar’s birthday, March 31st, as the annual “Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning.” Along with their parents, teachers, business and community members, K-12 students will commemorate Chavez by engaging in a day of activities that features the proven track record of Service-Learning, a hands-on teaching approach that combines community service with academic study.

In Southern California, the Orange County Cesar Chavez Initiative will have over 120 fourth graders from Palidades Elementary School in San Clemente gleaning a field at the Incredible Edible Park (Irvine Center Drive & Harvard) in Irvine from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on March 31. The Second Harvest Food Bank will provide the gleaning field and the Cesar Chavez High School in Santa Ana will provide on-site reflectors. The Volunteer Center Orange County will train teachers on how to utilize the teacher/resource guide (toolkit) to ensure that quality Service-Learning takes place. Among the participants will be Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Cesar’s granddaughter and Community Programs Officer of the Cesar Chavez Foundation, one of the event’s partners. CalState Fullerton, who is having their own Service-Learning event, will be working with elementary students from the Placentia/Yorba Linda School District. Last March 29, Volunteer San Diego had successfully held their “Culture & Cranes for Peace” event at the Malcolm X Library in downtown San Diego.

In Northern California, the City of East Palo Alto, Ravenswood City School District, El Concilio, the Girls’ Club of the Mid-Peninsula, IKEA, and Youth Community Service are gathering students and teachers from Ravenswood City School District for receptions, presentations, and displays of Service-Learning projects at the Cesar Chavez Auditorium (2450 Ralmar Avenue) at 11:30 a.m. and displays at the Girls’ Club of the Mid-Peninsula (2400 Ralmar Avenue). The keynote speakers will be Gloria Flores-Garcia, Associate Director of El Concilio and Alejandro Chavez, grandson of Cesar Chavez. Meanwhile, the Marin Conservation Corps in San Rafael also has youth service activities set up at Picklewood Park from 10-12 Noon, followed by a rally and a march (1:30-3 p.m.), and a film at night (7-9 p.m.).

The partnering organizations for the Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning are: (a) Regional Service Learning Leads, a framework of 24 groups of educators and advocates who “build” capacity for Service-Learning through its fundraising and relationship-building activities with policy makers, schools, districts and other interested parties; (b) YSCal After-School Alternative or CASSL, a provider of grants to eight after-school partnerships who have developed successful models of Service-Learning created for after-school settings; and (c) the State Farm Companies Foundation who sponsors the National Service-Learning Partnership, the National Youth Leadership Council, and Youth Service America.

For more information about Service-Learning and Cesar Chavez Day activities, contact YSCal at (510) 302 – 0550 or visit their website at

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